Someone asked me the other day if I was still running.
And by the way, when I say the other day, it could mean two days ago or two months ago... or even almost a year ago.
Everything seems like just the other day to me.
Anyway... am I still running?
I told my husband I was asked this question and we both laughed a little.
I said, "Asking me if I'm still running is like asking me if I'm still breathing. Imagine if I didn't run?
I'd lose my marbles!"
His very dry response, "WE ALL WOULD."
And he's right.
Growing up, I hated running.
I was never one to run. Ever.
I didn't want to play soccer growing up. Why? Because I didn't like to run.
Absolutely. Hated. It.
Instead, I danced.
I spent most nights during the week from middle school through high school at a small dance school where I practiced ballet, tap and jazz... where I stretched and sweated and laughed and had fun...it was my home away from home... it was what I loved.
After I graduated high school, I went to college and I stopped dancing.
I just stopped. And no exaggeration... I think a little part of my soul died.
It's not like I was this professional dancer or I was ever going to have a career in dancing.
Not in the slightest.
Hell, maybe I wasn't even GOOD. (ok, I was a little bit good)
But I spent so much time in my life dancing and then to just up and stop, cold turkey... holy crap.
It was intense.
And I really lost a little part of myself.
I no longer got that "me" time...where I didn't think... where I just moved and counted and breathed... focusing not on me, but on ME.
I know, that really makes no sense.
But when I was dancing... I wasn't thinking about school or school work, or my friend who was mad at me... or the HUGE MONUMENTAL fight (isn't everything HUGE and MONUMENTAL in high school?) I had with my boyfriend... it all went away... and my mind was clear and all was good for a while.
So when I lost dance... I needed to find something else.
And I don't even know how it happened, really.
I found running.
Or maybe running found me?
I don't really know.
I went to the school gym near my dorm because I realized I needed some sort of an outlet...and if I'm being completely honest... needed to burn off the late night pizza and cheap canned beer I drank.
But I got on a treadmill to walk...and eventually that walking led to running
And that was it.
I was set free.
I liked the rhythm of running.
I liked the breathing.
I liked that I had to focus so much on my steps and not DYING that I couldn't think about anything else. Nothing.
And at first... I really sucked.
I was a bad runner. My stamina was nil.
So I walked and ran...and walked some more.. and then ran a little more.
And I'm sure it didn't look pretty or graceful, but it was time I spent with me... not thinking.
And as time went on... I ran more, walked less... ran further(further? or farther? ), ran faster...
I ran alone.
I ran with friends and roommates.
I ran with my husband back when he was still my boyfriend... in the dark after work because he refused to let me run by myself.
I ran a few races.
I ran a handful of marathons.
And in all that time... I never considered myself a runner.
But by definition - and I did really look this up - A runner is a person who runs or a person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby: "a marathon runner".
So I guess before I realized it... I was a runner.
Sounds weird to me. I'm not a runner... I just run.
And as I look back at that time I've spent running(I don't want to even count how many years now)...
It has saved me.
Running has gotten me through some tough times;
My twins' infancy...when I needed to escape the madness of my house I'd tie on my shoes and go for an hour... and I'd come back a new(or new-ish) mom... with a clearer head and renewed patience.
I ran through my younger brother's illness and his subsequent death and some of those dark days with tears streaming down my face, I felt like I could run forever... leaving behind the noise in my head... running through the anger and sorrow in my heart....
And without that outlet... what would I have done?
Running has made me a better person... a stronger person.
Running has allowed me to be a better mother... A better wife.
It's not always easy or fun.
It's not always a "good" run... but it's always... ALWAYS worth it.
And I certainly know that running isn't for everyone.
That some people would rather poke their eyes out than run a lap at the high school track.
I get that.
In fact, that was me at one point.
But, I do believe that everyone needs SOMETHING.
An outlet...an escape... something that they can turn to when times get tough or maybe not even tough... just something that is just theirs alone -a mind clearing, thinking of nothing, SOMETHING... knitting, cooking, a sport, yoga, reading....whatever
(not endorsing drinking or drugs here, although a glass of wine does make bedtime with my kids a little easier)
But it's food for the soul... a little ME time.
So am I still running?
For MY sanity...and the sanity of my husband and my children and all of those that know me(or even come in contact with me)...
I SURE AM!
Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW